Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Underground in the Los Angeles Subway with a Lumix LX7.

Los Angeles subway as seen in August 2016.
Los Angeles subway as seen in August 2016.

I violated various rules of composition in this candid view exposed in the Los Angeles Subway.

Ok, maybe not ‘rules’, but certainly common compositional conventions that encourage gratuitous blandness and unnecessary repetition of vision.

Tracking the Light tries to post everyday, even while Brian is traveling.

Rails along the Los Angeles River—August 2016.

Yesterday on Tracking the Light I displayed views of Metro Rail from the First Street Bridge in Los Angeles.

Here are few views of trains from the bridge.

This scene reminded me of Germany’s Rhein Valley with busy lines on opposite sides of a river; except cast in concrete, without much water or unspoiled scenery, hemmed in by urban growth and decorated with graffiti. Oh, and the trains are diesel-powered rather than electric.

A BNSF AC4400CW works toward Los Angeles Union Station with Metrolink train 607.
A BNSF AC4400CW works toward Los Angeles Union Station with Metrolink train 607.
At the back of 607 is a Metrolink MP36PH diesel.
At the back of 607 is a Metrolink MP36PH-3C diesel.
Union Pacific light engines on the east bank of the LA River.
Union Pacific light engines on the east bank of the LA River.
Railways in stereo. An outbound Amtrak Pacific Surfliner can be seen on the west bank, with Union Pacific GE diesels on the east side.
Railways in stereo. An outbound Amtrak Pacific Surfliner can be seen on the west bank, with Union Pacific diesels on the east side.
On its way to San Diego, Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner against the LA skyline.
On its way to San Diego, Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner against the LA skyline.

The broad, largely dry concrete channel is symbolic of the chronic drought in Southern California.

Although unworldly, the environment around the Los Angeles River is undoubtedly familiar to many people because of its prominent role in Hollywood Films and popular television.

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Gold Line with Skyline—Los Angeles Metro Rail.

Metrolink runs the Los Angeles-area heavy rail commuter/suburban services. Metro Rail runs LA’s subway and light rail lines.

Earlier this month (August 2016), I made some views of the Gold Line extension to Atlantic from First Street. This offers some nice views of the cars with downtown Los Angeles skyline.

Looking east toward Atlantic. Gold Line's Pico/Aliso stop can be seen in the distance. (Not to be confused with Pico on the Blue Line/Expo Line that is located southwest of downtown. Just in case you were confused).
Looking east toward Atlantic. Gold Line’s Pico/Aliso stop can be seen in the distance. (Not to be confused with Pico on the Blue Line/Expo Line that is located southwest of downtown. Just in case you were confused).
This trailing view of an in bound Gold Line set was made with a slightly wide-angle focal length using my FujiFilm X-T1.
This trailing view of an in bound Gold Line set was made with a slightly wide-angle focal length using my FujiFilm X-T1.
Here's the same light rail train exposed from the same vantage point, but using a telephoto focal length, which compresses the distance and allows for the skyscrapers to visually loom above the road.
Here’s the same light rail train exposed from the same vantage point, but using a telephoto focal length, which compresses the distance and allows for the skyscrapers to visually loom above the road. A secondary benefit from this perspective is that it crops out the high-voltage wires that featured prominently in the earlier view. (Not so good, of course, if  you are a wire enthusiast!)

To pull in the skyline, I used a telephoto lens, which makes the buildings seem larger when compared to the light rail cars. When taken to extremes this effect can make the skyscrapers appear surreal.

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Metro Rail Expo Line; Light Rail under Sunny Skies—Los Angeles, August 2016.

I was keen to explore one of the Los Angeles-area’s most recent light rail extensions:  Metro Rail’s so-called Expo Line that runs west from a connection with the Blue Line (near downtown) and roughly follows the alignment of an old Pacific Electric route along Exposition Boulevard to Santa Monica.

The portion of the line from Culver City to Santa Monica was opened in May this year, and so still has that newly-built appearance.

LA Metro Rail pays tribute to the old Pacific Electric at its stations with artwork and historical interludes.

Attention to the platform art will yield the viewer bits of history and PE Heritage.
Attention to the platform art will yield the viewer bits of history and PE heritage.

Using my Lumix LX7 and FujiFilm X-T1 I made these images under bright sunny skies. Yet, I wonder about the opportunities for evening and twilight images on this line?

The Expo Line’s largely east-west alignment combined with LA’s propensity for air-pollution should present some impressive lighting conditions.

PE_heritage_Expo_Line_Santa_Monica_DSCF1594
I’m not the first observer to embrace the pictorial effects of Los Angeles air quality.

Perhaps a visit with a very long lens during a smog alert could yield some colorful results?

A telephoto view exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1 of a modern light rail car approaching Santa Monica.
A telephoto view exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1 of a modern light rail car approaching Santa Monica.
The Expo Line features a variety of light rail equipment, which is an uncommon feature for such a new line. Exposed at Santa Monica with my FujiFilm X-T1
The Expo Line features a variety of light rail equipment, which is an uncommon feature for such a new line. Exposed at Santa Monica with my FujiFilm X-T1
Many stations are decorated with artwork and embellished with historical tidbits. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1
Many stations are decorated with artwork and embellished with historical tidbits. Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1
Expo Line station at Santa Monica.
Expo Line station at Santa Monica.
A Lumix LX7 view of an LA-bound car departing Santa Monica.
A Lumix LX7 view of an LA-bound car departing Santa Monica.
Trailing view of the same cars.
Trailing view of the same cars. Metro Rail is advertising the Expo Line on the side of this car.
An old car in new paint graces the streets of Santa Monica. LX7 photo.
An old car in new paint graces the streets of Santa Monica. LX7 photo.
Clean new signs are a feature of the Expo Line extension.
Clean new signs are a feature of the Expo Line extension.
Outbound cars at Jefferson. Lumix LX7 photo.
Outbound cars at Jefferson. Lumix LX7 photo.
Jefferson; cars stop just long enough to make a photo before boarding.
Jefferson; cars stop just long enough to make a photo before boarding. This one is 1027; do YOU remember the significance of that number?

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At Pico, the Expo Line shares platforms with the Blue Line (that runs to Long Beach). Careful, you might board the wrong car!
At Pico, the Expo Line shares platforms with the Blue Line (that runs to Long Beach). Careful, you might board the wrong car outbound!
Pico looking toward downtown LA. Lumix LX7 view.
Pico looking toward downtown LA. Lumix LX7 view.

For more on the Expo Line see this article in the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-expo-line-speed-snap-story.html

Also see: https://www.metro.net/riding/maps/

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(Sometimes more than once).

Taking a Spin on Los Angeles-area Metrolink.

Metrolink is nearly a quarter century old, having commenced operations in 1992.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve enjoyed traveling and photographing the Los Angeles-area Metrolink. The comfortable coaches, variety of locomotives, and interesting route structure makes it one of the more interesting suburban railways in the United States.

Interior view of a Rotem double deck
Interior view of a Rotem double deck

In addition to lines focused on Los Angeles Union Station are several non-radial routes/services, which makes Metrolink unusual among American commuter lines.

All trains are diesel powered with double-deck cars. The newer Rotem-built cars are my favorite to travel in.

Detail of a Rotem-built double deck.
Detail of a Rotem-built double deck.

Using my Lumix LX7 (and other cameras), I’ve made dozens of images from the train, as well as interior views of the equipment, and of course views of the trains and stations.

One of the older cars.
One of the older cars.
Rotem double-deck detail.
Rotem double-deck detail.
Rolling along through suburban LA.
Rolling along through suburban LA.
Passengers board a morning train.
Passengers board a morning train.
Rolling toward Los Angeles Union Station behind a BNSF AC4400CW.
Rolling toward Los Angeles Union Station behind a BNSF AC4400CW.
Paused at Riverside.
Paused at Riverside.
BNSF local freight at San Bernardino.
BNSF local freight at San Bernardino.

Metrolink_view_from_the_train_San_Bernardino_P1500667

Metrolink_View_from_train_P1500705

Metrolink_View_from_train_P1500699Metrolink_View_from_train_P1500710

Metrolink_view_from_train_Burbank_Airport_P1500730

Ticket to ride.
Ticket to ride.

Metrolink_View_from_train_P1500700

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New Kinkisharyo Cars on the Los Angeles Gold Line.

Last week (July 2016) I went for a spin on some brand new Kinkisharyo model P3010 light rail cars on the Los Angeles Gold Line extension to East LA.

Although the cars read ‘Test Train’ in the destination board, they were in fact running in revenue service. The automated station announcements hadn’t been activated, so instead a real live employee was calling out the stops.

The cars were shiny and still had that ‘new car’ aroma.

Pretty neat.

I made these photographs with my Lumix LX7

A pair of new Kinkisharyo cars approach the Gold Line station at Little Tokyo.
A pair of new Kinkisharyo cars approach the Gold Line station at Little Tokyo. Although it reads ‘Test Train’ in the destination board, I was still able to board the cars and take a spin.
For interior views such as this one, I use the '+1/3' exposure override feature in combination with the 'A' setting on my Lumix LX7. This helps compensate for the outside light streaming through the windows.
For interior views such as this one, I use the ‘+1/3’ exposure override feature in combination with the ‘A’ setting on my Lumix LX7. This helps compensate for the outside light streaming through the windows. In post processing, I made adjustments for contrast that help even the scene.
Clean and shiny.
Clean and shiny.
Test train at Atlantic, the new terminal for the Gold Line in East LA.
Test train at Atlantic, the new terminal for the Gold Line in East LA.
LA Metro Rail advertisement on the side of the car.
LA Metro Rail advertisement on the side of the car.
New cars accelerate away from the platform at LA Union Station.
New cars accelerate away from the platform at LA Union Station.

See the Business Wire for more about the cars.

[http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160305005014/en/Kinkisharyo-Light-Rail-Vehicles-Roll-Revenue-Service]

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LAUS not to be confused with LUAS—Los Angeles Union Revisited

Dublin’s LUAS (not an acronym) is the name for the city’s modern light rail system.

By contrast, the Los Angeles Union Station is now known by its initials LAUS.

Historically, it was called the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, and called LAUPT.

I featured this great terminal in my recent book: Railway Depots, Stations and Terminals, published in 2015 by Voyageur Press.

The other day I revisited the station and made my first digital photographs of the buildings and trains there. (A station is more than just a building or buildings).

Here’s an excerpt of my text:

Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (LAUPT) was completed in May 1939. It is a rare example of an Art Deco era railway station and one of the few stations that opened during the streamlined era. It’s modern interpretation of the Spanish Mission style design is largely attributed to the LA-based architectural team of John and Donald Parkinson.

LA_Union_Station_P1500195LA_Union_Station_P1500228LA_Union_Station_P1500236LA_Union_Station_P1500089LA_Union_Station_P1500106LA_Union_Station_P1500090Metro_Link_Union_Station_P1500137LA_Union_Station_P1500107BNSF_Panoramic_P1500186BNSF_LA_Union_Station_P1500170Tracking the Light is Daily.

Blinded by the Brightness: BNSF GE AC4400CWs work passenger trains—Los Angeles July 2016.

Here’s recent view with the Lumix. All that blue sky confused my exposure!

Lots of BNSF AC4400s at Los Angeles Union Station working the LA-end of Metrolink trains.

Photo by Brian Solomon July 2016. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
Photo by Brian Solomon July 2016. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.

Tracking the Light is on autopilot while Brian is traveling.

Fullerton, California June 2008.

LA Metrolink at rush hour.

Fullerton, California
I exposed this Fullerton seen with my Canon EOS 3 with a 100mm f2.0 lens on Fujichrome slide film.

In Spring 2008, I spent seven weeks in California working on my ‘Railroads of California’ book for Voyageur Press. I focused on elements of California railroading that I’d missed or had changed since I lived there in the early 1990s.

At the end of May, I took Amtrak’s Coast Starlight from Oakland to Los Angeles. Among my projects was the Los Angeles Metrolink commuter rail system.Aiding my effort, Metrolink provided several comp-tickets. On this day, my cousin Stella and I traveled over several of Metrolink routes. I was delighted by the trains, which were air-conditioned and comfortable.

I focused the evening’s efforts at Fullerton, a location that my father recommended to me. Several years earlier, he’d spent an afternoon waiting for Santa Fe 3751 (Baldwin-built 4-8-4 steam locomotive) that was working an excursion.

Fullerton is a busy place with three main tracks that host Metrolink, Amtrak, and BNSF trains. I exposed this image from the foot bridge as a Metrolink train paused for its station stop. Hazy LA-area smoggy sun makes for a nice soft light source, while backlighting offers good contrast for a high impact image.

 

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